Tourist With a Typewriter

Oh, Uncle Adrian, I’m in the reservation of my mind.

Tag: Writing

The Rodney Dangerfield of the Writing World

Journalism is not given much respect. Journalists themselves, particularly in my generation, didn’t take their jobs very seriously. I take it very seriously. This is a craft. This is an art form. I’m writing stories, just like fiction writers, only I use real names. … Nonfiction writers are second-class citizens, the Ellis Island of literature. We just can’t quite get in. And yes, it pisses me off. – Gay Talese, interview in The Paris Review

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The Empathy Broadcast

The writer David Rakoff died August 9th of cancer. In a 2011 New York Times essay, he talked about how awkward it is when people try and comfort the sick and dying. He ended the piece with this beautiful paragraph on “the empathy broadcast.”

“We like to think that the empathy broadcast with the swooping, downward intonation of the “aaawwww” is an evolutionary comfort; something we are programmed to welcome and offer freely ourselves. As a comment on something that has already happened, it probably works. But as an anticipatory tool, it does not soften the blow, indeed it does the opposite. It leaves you exposed, like grabbing onto the trunk of a tree for support in a storm only to find the wood soaked through and punky and coming apart in your hands. The sweetest bedtime-story delivery is no help when the words it delivers are a version of ‘…and behind this door is a tiger. Brace yourself.'”

Working

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again. – Oscar Wilde

Blood on the Page

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. – Red Smith, sportswriter.

If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would you think the boy is strange?
– Mick Jagger, Rolling Stone

I’ll Show You Mine

The quality which makes man want to write and be read is essentially a desire for self-exposure and masochism. Like one of those guys who has a compulsion to take his thing out and show it on the street. – James Jones

Motivation

I wanted to kill a monk. – Umberto Eco, when asked why he wrote The Name of the Rose.

The Discontent of the Writer

[T]his discontent is the basic trait that turns a person into a writer. Patience and toil are not enough: first, we must feel compelled to escape crowds, company, the stuff of ordinary life, and shut ourselves up in a room. … I would like to see myself as belonging to the tradition of writers who — wherever they are in the world, East or West — cut themselves off from society and shut themselves up in their rooms with their books; this is the starting point of true literature.

– Orhan Pamuk, on receiving the Nobel prize for literature in 2006

This is taped on my writing desk.

I wish I’d said, at the end of The Great Gatsby: “I’ve found my line – from now on this comes first. This is my immediate duty – without this I am nothing” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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